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Meet Velencia Giles of Lenci

Today we’d like to introduce you to Velencia Giles.

Velencia, let’s start with your story. We’d love to hear how you got started and how the journey has been so far.
At some point in life, you have to get tired of denying yourself of greatness.

Growing up, I told everyone around me that “I was never going to become a singer.” I think I told myself this because I was scared. Now at 23, I am falling in love with my art every day in numerous ways. I started singing when I was eight years old. I started with “Amazing Grace” and ended up singing “Greatest Love of all” by Whitney Houston at my 8th-grade graduation.

I remember as a child waiting until I could be alone upstairs so I could blast Lauryn Hill in my headphones, close my eyes, and pretend I was on stage with her. I remember dancing to Janet Jackson and my mom yelling from the bottom of the stairs that dinner was ready, and I would always choose Janet over my food (at least until my stomach told me otherwise). There wasn’t a day where I didn’t have music, where I didn’t need it. Sometimes during thunderstorms, I would listen to Smokey Robinson just to ease my anxiety. “Quiet Storm” will always have a special place in my heart.

After high school, I made songs in my college residence hall, but I was always afraid to share them. Once I graduated from North Carolina A&T State University, I decided to not live in fear anymore. The best advice I gave to myself was to “live freely; live free from judgment, even when it comes from your own negative thoughts.” I released my first song titled “Love Dimension” on May 29th, 2019 and I haven’t looked back since. It’s been a wild ride; however, I have adjusted to the bumps and curves of being an Indie artist.

One of my goals is to always have an acoustic version of multiple songs. Making acoustic versions gives me an outlet to experiment with different sounds. I love a plethora of music genres. With the acoustic versions, I specifically experiment with Rock and Country sounds. Why should I limit myself? Life is already a box with preset limits on what you can do or how far you can go based on your race, gender, and socioeconomic status (among other things); so when it comes to music, I lay it all out on the floor. This is me. I’m quirky and serious, goofy and playful, and sweet and spicy. Most of the time spicy, but even too much cinnamon can make you choke.

The truth is I love music, but not in the trendy, cliche way. I really love music. It makes me feel things I can’t see, hear, or taste. When it comes to good music, I simply feel it. Words have power and artists have influence.

We’re always bombarded by how great it is to pursue your passion, etc – but we’ve spoken with enough people to know that it’s not always easy. Overall, would you say things have been easy for you?
Being an Indie artist is challenging, but I love it. It’s so freeing, yet so tough at the same time. Sometimes our passions can hold us captive. The hardest part is marketing and creating my own space. Hip-hop and Rap have taken over the music industry (seemingly) and sometimes it seems like there is no room for other genres, especially if an artist is trying to blend them. I have to scratch and claw for months to get responses about venues and performance opportunities because they prefer rappers over anything else. Secondly, marketing is critical yet elusive. Social media is oversaturated with musical talent, so I am constantly asking myself “What makes me different”? It is hard for me to tell someone that I’m different or captivate them with some special story when, truthfully, I’m just me. I’m just Lenci. Music is what I love to do. It’s simple and I don’t like to go out of my way to make up a story just to impress someone. The most powerful thing we can all do to be different is to be ourselves.

Lastly, as an Indie artist, doing everything by myself can take a real toll on you. I have to be my own music manager, booking agent, marketing team, public relations, financial advisor, stylist, website designer, merchandise director, and a human resources department. Everything from writing the song to creating the merchandise I handle. Although I don’t produce and engineer, I have to book studio time, find the right producers, and carve out time to schedule sessions. It gets tough though. There are days when I want to give up and quit completely, but I fall back in love with my final products. When I perform live and people who have never heard of me try to sing along; when people send me videos of them singing my songs, the feeling is euphoric and it holds me captive, even in reflection.

We’d love to hear more about your work and what you are currently focused on. What else should we know?
My name is Lenci. I am a singer/songwriter originally from Raleigh, North Carolina. I write love songs for people who still believe that love fairytales can come true. I specifically love changing the narrative around “African American Romance”. “Black love” should be normalized and not stigmatized. My genre of music can be defined as blended R&B because I like to experiment with different instrumentation and genres including Rock, Country, Ambient, Soul, and Hip-hop.

Spotify Bio: Velencia Giles [Lenci] is a singer//songwriter from Raleigh, North Carolina. Her uniquely textured mezzo-soprano vocals will fill your ears & soul with heartfelt vivacity and uplifting positive vibrations. Influenced by a diverse world of music and culture from an early age, Lenci’s natural ability to seamlessly combine R&B, Indie, Soul, Pop, Rock & Country genres is revolutionary. When Lenci isn’t recording, she is conducting psychological research for her Master’s Degree at North Carolina State University.

Lenci’s EP collections are available everywhere.

EP Titles
1.Hopeless Romantic
2.Hopeless Romantic (Acoustic version)
3.Insanity

Has luck played a meaningful role in your life and business?
Luck has played a small part in my success. I try to always stay ready for the right moment. Every opportunity is a business opportunity. My business cards have become accessories because they are always on me. I have met venue owners at performances and they were interested in my music and I quickly pulled out my business card, displaying all of my information. In some cases, I just happen to be in the right place at the right time. I have met a lot of amazing people just by being ready and putting myself out there.

Contact Info:

Image Credit:
Photographer: Bryant Tyson; Instagram: @imbryantdevon; website: http://www.memoriesbybryant.com/

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